Definitional Issues in Emotion Regulation Research



Operational definitions of emotion regulation are frequently unclear, as are links between emotion regulation measures and underlying theoretical constructs. This is of concern because measurement decisions can have both intentional and unintentional implications for underlying conceptualizations of emotion regulation. This report examines the implications of some such decisions, including (a) focusing on types versus total amount of emotion regulation, (b) determining distinctiveness of measures of emotion versus emotion regulation strategies, (c) deciding whether and how to examine temporal sequencing of strategy use and emotion, d) using discrete versus global emotion measures, and (e) determining when emotion is being regulated. Finally, the need for better conceptualizations and empirical assessments of adaptive (vs. maladaptive) emotion regulation is discussed.